May 10th

Our new family slept well. We had expected Amanda would wake up a couple times through the night, since we had read that the babies would get bottles at 11:30 pm and 3:30 am. We were amazed when she slept through the night. We have a keeper! I was awake about 6:00 am, watching her sleep. She’s restless, moving frequently and sometimes making a noise. Her foot was hanging outside the crib, and I rubbed it gently. She responded by moving her foot against my hand while she continued to sleep. Then a few minutes later suddenly her eyes opened and she beamed at us. Oh how sweet!

The adoption agency had arranged tours in the morning and afternoon for those who wanted to get out. We chose to take our time in the morning, getting dressed and going for a late breakfast. For the first time we had a baby with us for a meal. It’s different when you have to tag team the buffet rather than both going at once. We had been told by other parents that the girls seemed to like Congie (thin rice), hardboiled eggs, and yogurt. Along with some cheerios, Amanda did well with eating … and making a mess of course.

After breakfast we spent some time in our hotel room, playing with Amanda, getting acquainted. I hadn’t typed my journal from Gotcha Day because of the hectic activities of the day, so I made the attempt at typing with Amanda sitting between my legs on the bed. She was quite intrigued at first, then realized she could also press the keys. My laptop became and “ankle top” as I pushed the computer farther and farther away.

(We shot mostly video of gotcha day with a few still on the video camera. We’ll have to share those when we get back as the card reader is not recognizing the SD card and we don’t have drivers with us for the video camera.)

She has quite a smile, beaming at us. Very quickly she had bonded with us. Even in the room where we met the babies, she had identified me as the woman she was to be with, and Wayne as the man. That bond has become even stronger. She loves to hear herself make noises. She’s yell “yah!” and usually gets a response from people nearby. She started out flirting with the waiters at the restaurant at breakfast (interesting, since we had heard often they don’t like men because they aren’t exposed to them much), and continued with anyone else who would look her way. Iris, our guide here in Chongqing, does very well with her. Amanda already is a mommy’s girl, refusing to let anyone else hold her for more than a second before she leans back to me. But she has let Iris carry her around. Iris knows children’s songs, and she puts her hands up in the air a bit and twists them back and forth while singing. Whenever Amanda sees Iris, she usually puts her hands in the air and starts babbling as she twists her hands back and forth.

Not to brag too much, but our bonding with Amanda has been picture perfect. She can sit alone on the bed with some toys and entertain herself, or be carried around and take in every sight. She doesn’t like being confined, though. The hotel here lets us borrow strollers. We put her in it twice, and she cried both times. We know we’ll have to get her used to the stroller. Not only will she need to ride in it, but she’ll also have to use the car seat. I can imagine a 4-hour screaming session on the way home from Philadelphia in about 10 days.

Most of the other babies have had some bonding issues. Some of the children just sit in mom’s arms and don’t want to go to dad. Or it might happen the other way around. Some seem sad, avoiding eye contact and just sitting. Some seem distant, others seem to respond fairly well. One of the babies in particular had a prolonged high-pitched scream on Gotcha Day. The next morning when we woke up, we could hear the child screaming next door. Of the 12 babies in our group here, I’ve checked out 8 or 10 of them. Four have ear infections, two have lung infections, a couple have colds. We have three doctors in our group (amazing!) as well as a couple nurses and a nurse practitioner. One of the doctors is a pediatrician, the other is an older family practitioner, who is the grandfather of an adopted child. That child was in the hospital today with pneumonia despite being started on Zithromax right away. Amanda seems to be fine so far, and maybe that’s why she’s flourishing so well, without illness to get in the way of bonding with her new parents.

On the afternoon of the 10th (Tuesday) we went to the highest point in Chonqing, where there’s a tower, a museum, and a tea room. The Three Rivers Gorges Museum outlines the plan to build a large hydroelectric dam several hundred miles downriver from Chongqing, flooding many smaller cities including Fuling, where Amanda’s orphanage is. As we were in the museum with all the babies and families, our co-travelers were marveling at Amanda, exclaiming that we were going to have our hands full. She was walking with assistance, then up riding around, then down again, then up in my arms playing with a toy that she would throw on the ground. I would lean down with her so she could pick it up herself. Of course she would throw it again. I figure I should be losing weight chasing her around and carrying her. In the tea room, there were three girls who gave the tea demonstration. They flocked around Amanda, cooing over her. The had given us plates of large light green olives to try (tasted sweet and firm, not at all like the olives we know). I pushed the plate out of Amanda’s reach, and the girls pushed it back toward her, watching her take an olive in each hand. She ate at them a bit, then threw them and reached for more. Aah, our problem child.

In the evening we had a buffet dinner on a terrace here in the hotel. The prices here in the hotel are more what we would expect at home — $12 for dinner. Outside of the hotel, food is cheap, but we’re afraid to eat it without recommendations!

After dinner Amanda seemed rather fussy. I changed her, played while she took a bath, then tried to get her to settle down about 10:30 pm. Wayne was trying to do some computer work, and he ended up falling asleep in the chair before Amanda settled down. She tends to fight sleep, almost like she’s having too much fun to quit. She would lie down against me, then suddenly be up smiling at me, then flop her head down on the bed, then up again. At one time I was lying on the bed with my eyes closed, with her lying facing me. I’m sure I had my eyes closed for a couple minutes. When I opened the, there she was staring at me, breaking into a huge grin. Aah, tug at the heart strings!

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